Ecosocialist Bookshelf — June 2022

June 20, 2022
Ecosocialist Bookshelf June

Climate & Capitalism editor Ian Angus presents seven new books on science, medicine and socialism.

* * *

Altered Earth: Getting the Anthropocene right
Edited by Julia Adeney Thomas
Cambridge University Press, 2022
Highly recommended. Twelve important essays, ranging from solid science to speculative fiction, united by a common understanding that getting Anthropocene right means being accurate about the physical science, balanced about its implications, and just in envisioning potential futures for humanity. Counter to the claims of some, these readable, focused and engaging essays show that science and the humanities need not be opposed, but can (and must) reinforce each other in understanding and countering the growing Earth System crisis.

Horizons: The global origins of modern science
By James Poskett
HarperCollins, 2022
Highly recommended. The history of science is often told as an account of great men, all European, making discoveries on their own. Poskett breaks through that mythology, revealing that the most important scientific breakthroughs have come from the exchange of ideas from different cultures around the world, and uncovering the vital contributions of scientists in Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific. “Whatever period we look at,” he writes, “the history of science cannot be told as a story which focuses solely on Europe".

Phantom Plague: How tuberculosis shaped history
By Vidya Krishnan
Hachette, 2022
In the global north, tuberculosis (TB) is now rare, but it is ravaging the south. Just when it could have been extinguished as a threat to humanity, it found a way back, aided by authoritarian governments, toxic philanthropists, science denialism and medical apartheid. The story of TB shows that the state of modern medicine is inextricably bound up with race, class and caste in a profoundly unequal world.

The Future is Degrowth: A guide to a world beyond capitalism
By Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, Aaron Vansintjan
Verso, 2022
Can we step off the treadmill of this alienating, expansionist and hierarchical system? The authors discuss the political economy and politics of a non-growing economy and propose a path forward for counter-hegemonic movements that want to break with the logic of growth.

Revolutionary Collective: Comrades, Critics and Dynamics in the Struggle for Socialism
By Paul Le Blanc
Haymarket, 2022
Another excellent book from Paul Le Blanc, one of today’s most insightful historians of labour and socialist movements. In this collection of essays, he examines the contributions of leading activist-intellectuals, from Lenin to Gramsci to Bensaid, to building the democratic and collective movements we need to change the world.

Climate Change as Class War — Building Socialism on a Warming Planet
By Matthew T Huber
Verso, 2022
Huber argues that the climate movement has been ineffective because it is dominated by the “professional class”, which lacks the power to effect change. He argues for organising in the unions, with the goal of winning political power through elections. A controversial contribution to ongoing debates about movement strategy.

Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice
By Aviva Chomsky
Beacon Press, 2022
In her accessible primer on the climate crisis, Chomsky breaks down the concepts, terminology, and debates for activists, students, and anyone concerned about climate change. She argues that science is not enough to change course: we need to put social, racial and economic justice front and centre and overhaul the global economy.

[Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement.]

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